Esparto is a town at the mouth of the Capay Valley on Highway 16 a few miles West of I-505 and about 15 miles West of Woodland. Originally named Esperanza, the town was built on the formerly named Rhoada Stephens Bonynge tract and its post office established in 1890. The Stephens family who owned part of Rancho Canada de Capay first settled the region in the 1850s and in 1888, Rhoada Stephens Bonynge sold 1,300 acres to the Capay Valley Land Company, a Southern Pacific Railroad holding company. Capay Valley Land planned development of a large town that would include railroad facilities and a rural subdivision of 5, 10, and 20-acre parcels. Esparto grew into a farming community that would see only limited growth before World War II.
It makes the northwest corner of a square comprised of Woodland (NE), Davis (SE), and Winters (SW). It is not officially a municipality, and is a "Community Service District", and thus part of unincorporated Yolo County. Last reviewed for township in 2003, it lacks the required 500 registered voters. The review also concluded that the local economy lacked balance. It is not proximate to any incorporated area, so is unlikely to be annexed.
For some, Esparto is simply a small town mostly memorable for being that place you have to turn a couple of times when going out to Cache Creek Casino Resort and other Cache Creek related things. For others, it is something of an entry point to the Capay Valley and the first town one enters during the region's annual Capay Valley Almond Festival. Despite the humble consideration given this town by outsiders, Esparto serves as both an education and commercial center for the Capay Valley. The Esparto high school serves teens throughout the Capay Valley and has a pretty cool art-deco style auditorium that was built by the WPA in 1941; in 2005 the school received almost $280,000 from Cache Creek Casino Resort which the district used to refurbish and restore the auditorium. There are also several Wineries in the area. Another area feature/service is the Esparto Convenience Center, a refuse and recycling center run by the same folks as the Yolo County Central Landfill.
The Esparto school district, consisting of four schools, has (like many others) a painfully low budget for basic supplies and can always use donations of paper and other materials.
2007-02-28 01:37:00 Wow. I learned more about Esparto in that entry than I have learned in 23 years of living here. —BradBenedict